Mike McDaniel praises defense in Dolphins scrimmage interrupted by lightning

Tua Tagovailoa connects with Tyreek Hill at Hard Rock Stadium before 50-minute delay
Miami Dolphins cornerback Eli Apple defends receiver Robbie Chosen during Hard Rock Stadium scrimmage, Aug. 5, 2023
Posted at 9:09 PM, Aug 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-05 21:23:31-04

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Typical of the South Florida summer, inclement weather disrupted another outdoor activity.

Lightning interrupted the Miami Dolphins scrimmage at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday.

Shortly after quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw a 57-yard touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill, players, staff and spectators immediately sought cover for the eventual 50-minute delay.

"Apparently, you guys would know more than I would, that happens from time to time here," Dolphins second-year coach Mike McDaniel said. "The biggest fear that I had was I didn't want the defense, which was starting to feel some momentum, I didn't want them to all of a sudden have a lull. You're just happy to get stuff out of the way because you don't want these lessons to be learned when the score is final and the box score is real."

Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa signs autographs for fans after team scrimmage at Hard Rock Stadium, Aug. 5, 2023
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, center, signs autographs for fans after a team scrimmage at Hard Rock Stadium, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2023, in Miami Gardens, Fla.

Although McDaniel didn't single out a winning unit, he praised his defense's performance. Much is expected from the group after the Dolphins hired veteran NFL assistant Vic Fangio as their new defensive coordinator.

Cornerbacks Noah Igbinoghene and Eli Apple had interceptions.

"I always come here to work on my craft and try to get better," Igbinoghene said.

With star cornerback Xavien Howard set in one spot, the second position becomes a focus of attention in the leadup to the regular-season opener against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sept. 10.

All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey underwent knee surgery and could be sidelined until December. The Dolphins acquired Ramsey from the Los Angeles Rams in a trade on March 12.

In addition to the interceptions, the defensive line also applied pressure on Tagovailoa and reserve quarterbacks Mike White and Skylar Thompson.

Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel speaks to QB Tua Tagovailoa during Hard Rock Stadium scrimmage, Aug. 5, 2023
Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel talks with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa during a team scrimmage at Hard Rock Stadium, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2023, in Miami Gardens, Fla.

"Guys just came off today locked in," defensive tackle Christian Wilkins said. "We just want to keep growing and improving as a defense every time we take the field. I feel we've been able to do that this camp so far."

The Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons will participate in joint practices Tuesday and Wednesday before facing each other in their first preseason game Friday.

"The journey is just beginning for the team and that's how both sides of the ball have to look at it," McDaniel said. "There will be plays the defense will learn from, but overall it's a very productive day when people really put themselves out there and are able to learn from it."